Photo: Dave Asprey
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the quantified self movement, where people gather and share data with tools like the Nike Fuelband and Fitbit. But the issue with quantified self tools is, while they’re great for tracking what your body is doing, they’re not that great for actual change, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor Dave Asprey tells Business Insider.
Still, Asprey considers himself part of the quantified self movement.
“I desperately want this knowledge but I want to use the knowledge more quickly than I can consciously,” Asprey says.
That’s why Asprey has spent about $300,000 to make himself smarter and healthier through what he calls “biohacking,” which is all about training your brain and your body using technology.
How It All Started
When Asprey was in his mid-twenties, he weighed about 300 pounds and despite being a successful entrepreneur, having made $6 million from selling his company Exodus Communications when he was 26, his brain was starting to not work very well.
“I worked out all the time, I ate low calories, I did all the stuff I was supposed to do, as a Type A hard-worker, and it didn’t work,” Asprey says. “And I had this idea that maybe some days where I felt like I really was a zombie, maybe I actually was a zombie and I would measure it.”
So he started playing FreeCell, a Solitaire-based card game, to see how his performance would change. He found that on some days, it would take him 10 minutes to play and on other days, only one or two minutes.
“So suddenly I had an external metric to help me understand my performance and it occurred to me that I had control of this and that there was something causing it and that I needed to know what it was,” Asprey says.
That launched Asprey on his path to upgrade himself.
One of Asprey’s favourite technologies for training the brain is HeartMath’s heart rate variablity trainer called emWave2, which helps you maintain your focus and attention, achieve better sleep, and regulate your emotions.
Asprey has also used a variety of supplements and smart drugs to enhance his brain function. Some people look at them as cheating, Asprey says, but they’re simply a way to improve your brain function and be healthier.
“These aren’t technologies to cheat or to be less human, they’re technologies that let your brain do all the things it wants to do anyway, and give you the ability to be, not just a better worker, screw that noise, but give you the ability to be a better person,” Asprey says.
Through biohacking, Asprey says he’s learned how to “turn on happy” and turn off stress with just one breath. He’s even increased his IQ by more than by 20 points, but won’t say exactly how much.
“If I was abnormally endowed as a man, I wouldn’t disclose that number either,” Asprey says. “It is not about how big is yours, it’s about how much bigger than it is now can it be.”
One technique that works really well for increasing your IQ is neuro-feedback training, which is when you hook up electrodes to your head and use them to get feedback about your brain activity, Asprey says.
“There’s a particular form of this, that gives you the same brain state of someone who spent 20 years doing zen meditation and its shown in a study to raise your IQ by 12 points,” Asprey says. “That’s a pretty expensive program to do. That’s a $15,000 investment, but when you’re looking at $1,200 per IQ point, it’s not that expensive.”
Going On A Strict Orgasm Diet
Asprey even put himself on a strict orgasm diet last year, where he wouldn’t let himself orgasm more than once every eight days. While on the diet, Asprey would also track his levels of happiness, energy, and life in general by plotting a number from 1 to 10 every day on a chart.
Asprey found that when he had less frequent orgasms, his satisfaction with life went up and his relationship with his wife improved.
“That’s why the quantified self is cool because big data tells us things about our biology that are just not obvious,” Asprey says. “I would’ve bet a hundred bucks before I ran the experiment that, ‘I’m pretty sure if I have sex all the time and have an orgasm all the time, I’ll be happiest,’ but that’s not the case.”